Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field


  • Playa Blanca and Golfo Dulce

    The pouring of sun over the mountains this morning marked another fantastic day on our Costa Rican voyage. We prepared for today’s expedition at Playa Blanca, which included visiting a series of family-owned farms to see customs of a life worlds apart from our own.

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  • Casa Orquídea and the Turtle project

    After a long navigation from Panama, we finally made it to Costa Rica. In our first day we first visited a botanical garden home to more flowers, plants and birds than one could ever hope to capture with a camera. In the afternoon we participated in a new activity: We got to see how scientist gather data out of the sea turtles, and afterward we watched the sea turtles return to the sea.

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  • Coiba National Park

    Our last day exploring the Panama’s Pacific Coast began with a lovely sunrise. We cruised during the evening and arrived at Coiba National Park just before sunrise. National Geographic Quest anchored beside the gorgeous islet of Granito de Oro (“Little Grain of Gold”).

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  • Barro Colorado & the Panama Rainforest

    National Geographic Quest repositioned very early in the morning in front of Barro Colorado Island. The call of howler monkeys were heard from our ship and a lush band of forest began to show more and more as the sun rose. In the dining room of the ship, a delicious breakfast awaited us.

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  • Otoque and Bona and the Panama Canal

    Having cruised more than 180 nautical miles, we approached the Gulf of Panama to visit a unique group of islands called Otoque and Bona. These islands are a very important rookery for brown and blue-footed boobies, magnificent frigatebirds, and brown pelicans. We embarked first thing this morning by Zodiac, from which we managed to sight each of these species and the nuances in behavior of courtship, feeding, and nesting between them. Afterward, we repositioned to the island of Taboga, known for the vibrant assortment of flowers, colorful architecture, and the 500-year-old Iglesia (church) de San Pedro.

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  • Granito de Oro Islet, Coiba National Park

    Today was our first in Panama, and the first time since embarkation that we were able to put our snorkeling gear to use. Granito de Oro is one of the most flattering areas for snorkeling in this region. The gorgeous white sand beach meets crystal-clear waters, making for a perfect morning both in the water and ashore. Needless to say, the session did not disappoint.

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  • Casa Orquideas & Golfito

    On this last day in beautiful Costa Rica, National Geographic Quest arrived very early morning to the Casa Orquideas, a phenomenal botanical garden built by Trudy and Ron McAllister, two American expats who made this very remote part of Costa Rica their home 35 years ago. The couple’s continuing passion for nature is at the heart of their cultivating the rich exhibit it has thus become, which includes an abundance of fruits, spices, and flowers.

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  • Playa Blanca

    Today National Geographic Quest has arrived at Playa Blanca. This place is located in Osa Península (Costa Rica) and tends to be one of the most memorable destinations on the itinerary. The reason is a very special one: the people.

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  • Caletas Beach & Corcovado National Park

    On our first day of voyage, National Geographic Quest anchored in front of a private reserve of Caletas Beach, a gorgeous segment of beach that is a perfect for outings. Several guests explored the trails of the reserve while others enjoyed a horseback ride along the coastline. In the afternoon we visited Corcovado National Park, a place where several species of endangered trees are under protection. Here we saw four to six flocks of scarlet macaws as well as the mantled howler monkey and a Central American spider monkey. The last of these is found only in undisturbed areas and because of that is often used as a gauge for ecological health in a given area. From there, we walked to the base of a local waterfall, which gave guests the opportunity to jump in and cool off.

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  • Osa Peninsula and Caletas Bay

    It is now our final day aboard National Geographic Quest.  This morning the calls of howler monkeys and scarlet macaws led us into the most biologically diverse part of Costa Rica.  The Osa Peninsula is home to one of the healthiest rainforests in Central America and also home to a particularly large colony of scarlet macaws. We visited Playa Caletas in the morning with three options for endeavoring to choose from, including a trip through the dense rainforest buffer to a national park, a casual hike in the lower beachfront area to look for wildlife, and horseback riding to Rio Claro. As one might expect, there were wonderful sightings of wildlife across all activities. Scarlet macaws, spider monkeys, Tamandua anteaters, leaf-cutter ants, howler monkeys, and three toed sloths and their offspring were all seen.

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